The Skull Debut Album For Those Which are Asleep Coming Nov. 4

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 21st, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Don’t put 2014 to bed yet! After releasing their debut single earlier this year (review here), The Skull will issue their first full-length, For Those Which are Asleep, on Nov. 4 via Tee Pee Records. I’m in genuine suspense to hear how the Trouble offshoot — vocalist Eric Wagner, bassist Ron Holzner and drummer Jeff “Oly” Olson hailing from the seminal Chicago doomers — pay homage to their origins and even more how guitarists Lothar Keller and Matt Goldsborough (ex-Pentagram) distinguish themselves in tone and style and thus plot a new course for The Skull distinct from that of the band to whom they were originally formed as a tribute.

The title fascinates as well. The phrase “for those which are asleep” would seem to speak of things not human, otherwise it would be “for those whom are asleep.” Not sure if it’s meant to speak of an personify inanimate objects or if it’s just an odd turn of phrase, but it’s one more thing to add intrigue — if only to grammar dorks — about the album.

The Skull have the unenviable task of driving from Montreal to Delaware next weekend to appear at the Wings of Metal and Vultures of Volume festival. Bit of a hike that I’m sure will prove worth their while.

A certain PR wire has specifics:

the skull for those which are asleep

THE SKULL to Release For Those Which Are Asleep November 4

Metal Band Featuring Former Members of Doom Legends TROUBLE and PENTAGRAM Finalize Debut LP

THE SKULL — the new band featuring original members Eric Wagner (vocals) and Jeff “Oly” Olson (drums) of American doom metal legends TROUBLE alongside longtime TROUBLE bassist Ron Holzner, guitarist Lothar Keller (SACRED DAWN) and former PENTAGRAM guitarist Matt Goldsborough will release their debut album For Those Which Are Asleep on November 4 via Tee Pee Records, the NYC independent record label known for releasing landmark albums from acts such as High on Fire, Graveyard, Earthless and Sleep.

Written and recorded this past spring, For Those Which Are Asleep features ten tracks of elemental Heavy Metal and is the first full length album to feature Wagner, Holzner and Olson since the 1995 release of TROUBLE’s critically acclaimed LP Plastic Green Head. The new record’s greatest strength is how well it captures the apocalyptic trudge that Trouble delivered from the first downbeat of their 1984 debut, but now unequivocally propelled by the hallmarks of a hungry new band fueled by new blood. The mighty voice of Wagner is on full display; the vocalist proving on For Those Which Are Asleep that he still wields an eerie power at the mic. Titanic riffs abound as Keller and Goldsborough weave ominous atmospheres over the molten, crushing core of Holzner and Olson’s sinister strut. Make no mistake, THE SKULL are in complete command of their craft and have capably created a modern classic; a recording where atmosphere is established as drums crash, guitars blare and stories are told.

For Those Which Are Asleep track listing:

1.) Trapped Inside My Mind
2.) The Touch of Reality
3.) Sick of It All
4.) The Door
5.) Send Judas Down
6.) A New Generation
7.) Till the Sun Turns Black
8.) For Those Which Are Asleep
9.) Sometime Yesterday Mourning
10.) The Last Judgment

This month, THE SKULL will pay tribute to TROUBLE’s landmark debut Psalm 9 (which Wagner and Olson co-wrote and performed on) in celebration of the 30th Anniversary of the record’s release. THE SKULL will perform the influential album in its entirety at both the Wings of Metal Festival (Aug. 29 in Montreal) and the Vultures of Volume Festival (Aug. 30 in New Castle, Delaware) as headliners of each gathering. The band has also been confirmed to perform the full album at Barcelona’s Day of Doom Festival on October 10. Additional shows are expected to be announced as well.

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The Skull, “Sometime Yesterday Mourning” b/w “The Final Judgment” (2014)

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Friday Full-Length: Trouble, Psalm 9

Posted in Bootleg Theater on June 20th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Trouble, Psalm 9 (1984)

If you have any doubt that the reverberations of Trouble‘s 1984 debut, Psalm 9 — released on a then-nascent Metal Blade Records — are still being felt, then I would direct your attention to Cudahy, Wisconsin, where the fourth Days of the Doomed fest is being held this weekend. Trouble, who are headlining that festival this year in a much different incarnation than appeared on this album, have been a guiding principle in underground doom in the US and abroad — you might’ve had Reverend Bizarre or Cathedral without them, but they would’ve been different bands — for 30 years, with a family tree of acts that seems to be constantly expanding and a progressive catalog of classics that varies widely in just about everything except the quality of songwriting and guitar tone.

Psalm 9, though, in addition to establishing the Chicago band as early pioneers in Christian metal, is an album that’s not necessarily timeless in its sound, but has become more righteous with age. Songs like “The Tempter,” “Assassin,” “Bastards Will Pay” and “Psalm 9″ remain pinnacles of the kinds of atmospheres doom would explore in their wake, and Trouble‘s adherence to Sabbathian classic tenets in a time where that flew in the face of what was happening in metal — the NWOBHM having come up in the post-Ozzy era, Dio having left Sabbath and the hindsight-awesome Born Again having been released just a year before Psalm 9, in 1983 — helped cement their place in underground hearts. They were doom before there was doom to be.

As always, I hope you enjoy. And if you happen to be in Cudahy for the next couple days, I hope the fest kicks ass. I was sorry I couldn’t be there.

You know where I’ll be? Frickin’ New Jersey, for the second time this month. I can’t bitch about the occasion — I have a wonderful grandmother who is turning 99 — but I sure can bitch about the drive. During the day tomorrow there’s a Star Trek convention that The Patient Mrs. and I were toying with the idea of hitting, but I think the admission for those things is like 50 bucks, and frankly, I don’t have that kind of money, especially needing to buy gas to get south and all that. Fun as that would be both in the actual doing and in the absurdity factor, we’ll see how it goes.

She leaves for Greece for a month next weekend, does The Patient Mrs., traveling internationally as part of a grant she won by being brilliant as she is. Looks like we’re also moving again next weekend — quite literally the day she flies out; movers come next Saturday morning, she goes Saturday night — but the move is just down the road, to a town called East Bridgewater. Still have an awful lot to pack though, and I don’t imagine I’ll feel much like getting started this Sunday night upon returning to Massachusetts, so yeah. If the last move was any indicator, one day this week coming I’ll wake up at four in the morning thinking about needing to pack and just throw a good portion of our earthly possessions in boxes as quickly as possible with little care for things like marking what’s actually in them or breaking glassware. Another day, another condo. I’ll be sorry to lose the central air.

No shows this week. I barely left the house, to be honest with you, and I still feel like there’s never enough time for the things I want to get done. I don’t know what’s on for next week, gig-wise, if there is anything, but I’ll find out. I’m still reeling from that Earthless announcement about the Sleep show in August, but you know, I’d also like to see four or five other gigs before that if I can. I’ll take a look.

Album reviews next week of 1000mods and Mope — though I might decide to do the latter as part of a batch of radio adds. I fucking love that. I don’t know how you feel about it, but sometimes I think that with the longer reviews, nobody really gets that into it, and those shorter ones accomplish the same thing. They’re not as detailed, but for some records, I think it even works better. How much more do you really need to say about the Earthless Meets Heavy Blanket record than it fucking rules? Anyway, it’s something I’m going to keep doing until I get tired of it or distracted or think of something better.

Mope were also included in the podcast that went up today. Thanks for everyone who’s checked that out so far.

Might push back the Lowrider interview to the week after next to bump up C.O.C. and time it to the new album release. Good to be topical every now and then. I haven’t really decided yet, but it’s a maybe. This is what I think about when I should be finding work.

Also, it’s not 100 percent booked, but I might be streaming an instrumental version of the new Wo Fat (review here) at some point in the week. Need to catch up on emails too. And write a Kings Destroy bio. And pack. And spend time with my wife, who I won’t see again until the end of July.

Feeling a little overwhelmed, if you couldn’t tell, but so it goes. Three weeks from now it’ll be something else. It’s all just time.

I hope you have a great and safe weekend. Please check out the forum and the radio stream.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

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Trouble Added to Days of the Doomed IV

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 17th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

So after The Skull, and Blackfinger, and Earthen Grave, and Spillage, and In~Graved, and probably one or two other Trouble-member-inclusive acts I’m forgetting along the way over the last few years, Days of the Doomed has decided it’s time to cut to the chase and bring on Trouble itself. Kudos to Mercyful Mike Smith, who’s made it pretty obvious over the duration of his festival that he’s a fan. The Chicago doom legends are the final band to be announced for Days of the Doomed IV — fortunate, because I don’t think there’s any room left on the flyer — and the runtime for the two-day fest, which is set for June 20 and 21 at The Metal Grill in Cudahy, Wisconsin, has been unveiled. Not at all surprisingly, Trouble headline.

Dig:

OK! The final piece of the puzzle is in place, and we are extremely honored to announce that Chicago doom legends TROUBLE have been added to Days Of The Doomed Fest IV, taking place in Milwaukee, WI on June 20th & 21st at The Metal Grill.

Since TROUBLE’s acquisition of new lead vocalist Kyle Thomas (Exhorder/Floodgate), as well as new bassist Rob Hultz (Solace/Godspeed), they have been performing to European crowds in support of their 2013 release “The Distortion Field”. Days Of The Doomed Fest IV will be among the first shows to see the band returning to the U.S. market, and we are stoked to have them taking part!

With the addition of TROUBLE to Days Of The Doomed Fest IV, the line up has been finalized. The billing is as follows:

Friday, June 20th, 2014 – Doors Open At 3:00 PM
3:00 – 4:00 Metal DJ
4:00 – 4:40 Ancient Dreams
5:00 – 5:40 Stasis
6:00 – 6:45 Wasted Theory
7:05 – 7:50 Witchden
8:10 – 9:00 The Mighty Nimbus
9:20 – 10:20 Orodruin
10:40 – 11:40 Blackfinger (featuring former Trouble vocalist Eric Wagner)
12:00 – 1:00 Las Cruces

Saturday, June 21st, 2014 – Doors Open At 11:30 AM
12:00 – 12:40 Flying Medusa
1:00 – 1:40 Moon Curse
2:00 – 2:45 Sanctus Bellum
3:05 – 3:50 Brimstone Coven
4:10 – 4:55 Spillage (featuring Earthen Grave guitarist Tony Spillman)
5:15 – 6:00 Stone Magnum
6:20 – 7:05 Egypt
7:25 – 8:10 Devil To Pay
8:30 – 9:15 Beelzefuzz
9:35 – 10:35 Jex Thoth
10:55 – 11:55 Age Of Taurus
12:15 – 1:30 Trouble

Ticket, Lodging, and Travel info can be found at www.daysofthedoomed.com. Don’t miss out on the biggest doom fest in the Midwest!

Thanks, everyone! See you all in June!

Trouble, “Hunters of Doom” Live in Barcelona, Dec. 2013

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Here’s the First Video of The Skull with Jeff “Oly” Olson on Drums

Posted in Bootleg Theater on September 17th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

I don’t know about you, but I’m really excited at the prospect of a studio album from The Skull. The band recently announced they’d be recording this fall with Billy Anderson, and it just seems like they’re doing a lot of things the right way, playing fests like Days of the Doomed and Stoner Hands of Doom last year and the upcoming Fall into Darkness and Denver Doom Days to keep momentum going while continuing to get tighter and move forward. It’s cool to see and bodes well for the Trouble offshoot that features vocalist Eric Wagner, bassist Ron Holzner and (most recently) drummer Jeff “Oly” Olson as well as guitarists Michael Carpenter and Lothar Keller (both also of Sacred Dawn). Having seen them on stage a couple times, I’ve got my fingers crossed for what they can bring to a new record. They’re certainly in good hands.

Olson‘s first show with The Skull was this past weekend at Tequila Jaxx, and as it invariably must, video footage has surfaced of the performance. Taken from Trouble‘s 1985 outing, The Skull — which I guess for this band would be a self-titled? — “Wickedness of Man” finds the drummer fitting right in on parts he played 18 years ago. Earlier 2013 found Olson on keys alongside Victor Griffin in In~Graved, so I guess it goes to show you never quite know where you’ll wind up by the time a year is out.

Continued success. PR wire info follows the clip below:

The Skull, “Wickedness of Man” Live at Tequila Jaxx, 09.14.13

THE SKULL featuring original TROUBLE members vocalist Eric Wagner and drummer Jeff “Oly” Olson alongside the band’s longtime bassist Ron Holzner with SACRED DAWN guitarists Michael Carpenter and Lothar Keller peformed at Tequila Jaxx this past Saturday, September 14 in Mentor-On-The-Lake, Ohio. Fan-filmed video footage can be seen [above]. This is the band’s first performance with Jeff “Oly” Olson.

As previously reported, Olson rejoined THE SKULL last month stating: “I know that I’ve mentioned that I wouldn’t perform TROUBLE’s music anymore unless it’s with the other original members, but I’ve had a change of heart. I want to rock again.”

THE SKULL’s debut CD will be produced by Billy Anderson (HIGH ON FIRE, SLEEP, NEUROSIS) this autumn in Portland, Oregon and will be released via as-yet-undetermined record label.

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Blackfinger Sign to The Church Within for Debut Release

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 29th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

Blackfinger‘s self-titled debut has been a while in the making for sure. Former Trouble and current The Skull frontman Eric Wagner discussed the project’s first album in an interview late in 2011, saying then that it was being mixed, so unless that took more than year — which is possible, certainly — the record has probably sat for a bit while the circumstances of its release were sorted. To that end, the band has signed with The Church Within Records (see also Serpent Venom, Seamount, Beelzefuzz, etc.) out of Germany for the physical, CD/LP editions, and while an exact issue date has yet to be announced, for sure that’s progress. Between Blackfinger, Earthen Grave, The Skull and the actual new Trouble record, 2013-2014 is shaping up to be quite an era for Chicago’s most legendary doom export, its current and former members.

The PR wire had this to say:

Eric Wagner’s BLACKFINGER Sign Worldwide Deal; Reveal New Teaser Video

From Mercyful Mike Management & Production:

“We are extremely pleased to announce that BLACKFINGER, featuring former TROUBLE vocalist Eric Wagner, has signed a worldwide deal with Germany’s prestigious Church Within Records. The mastered album is being delivered to Church Within as we speak, and the CD and Vinyl versions are expected out by the end of the year. An exact release date will be announced soon. A full tour in the support of the album is being discussed, and will be reported on as things fall into place. Until then, be sure to check out the new BLACKFINGER promo video from Kathy Reeves Productions below.”

As reported earlier, Dark Star Records will be handling the digital release of the BLACKFINGER debut, which will be available on the official release date of the CD/LP.

The debut album, with its many peaks and valleys of heaviness and melancholy, along with Wagner’s signature vocals, will mark the singer’s first recorded output since Trouble’s 2007 release “Simple Mind Condition.”

The track listing of “Blackfinger” is as follows:
I Am Jon
Yellowood
Why God
On Tuesday Morning
As Long As I’m With You
Here Comes The Rain
My Many Colored Days
For One More Day
All The Leaves Are Brown
Til Death Do Us Part
Keep Fallin’ Down

Keep updated with all BLACKFINGER news by visiting www.blackfinger.net. Stay tuned!

Blackfinger, Album Teaser

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Solace Bassist Rob Hultz Joins Trouble

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 21st, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

I guess when Trouble comes knocking, you answer. Just a day after Trouble-offshoot The Skull had some lineup revelations of their own, Trouble have put word out that bassist Rob Hultz has entered the fold. Hultz is probably best known for playing in NJ doomers Solace, but he’s been based out of Chicago for some time and seems like a natural fit for the doom legends, whose new album, The Distortion Field (review here) is available now. If nothing else, it’s a hell of a line on Hultz‘s resumé.

Here’s the announcement, courtesy of Trouble‘s website:

Trouble Introduce New Bass Player

Metal legends Trouble have announced their new bassist Rob Hultz to debut on Fall Tour

On the eve of the European release of their latest studio album The Distortion Field, Trouble have made a permanent addition to the band line-up with the hiring of bass player Rob Hultz.

Hultz is no stranger to the heavy metal, hard rock, and doom metal genres as his lengthy music resume boasts.  While still in high school, he joined an East Coast hardcore band called Social Decay which served as his introduction to recording and touring.   After a decade, he left with the guitar player to form the doom metal band Godspeed and was signed to Atlantic Records.   Their debut album was recorded at Electric Lady Studios in New York and produced by Rachel Bolan of Skid Row.  The band was represented by Gloria Butler Management and toured with iconic bands such as Black Sabbath, Ronnie James Dio, and Cathedral, to name just a few.

In 1996, Hultz helped form Solace, another notable doom metal band, which was signed to Meteor City Records, and played large arenas, clubs, and festivals such as Roadburn and Hellfest.  Their last recording A.D. was released on Small Stone Records in 2010 and voted Best Metal Album of the Year on iTunes.  Since then, Hultz has lent his talents on projects for Lethal Aggression and Disease Concept.

Commenting on the band’s decision, Trouble founder and guitarist Rick Wartell states, “Bruce Franklin and I played the bass parts on The Distortion Field, with the exception of one song.  However as we began preparing to tour in support of the album, it became really important to choose the right person for the band.  Rob is not only a great bass player but also a total pro with an impressive band history, and he’s got the Trouble-personality so he definitely fits in well.  We look forward to him joining us on the road and being a band-mate for a long time to come.”

Hultz has already begun rehearsals and will debut live with the band for a series of European show dates scheduled for October 2013, the details of which are still pending and will be announced separately.

Trouble, “The Broken Has Spoken” from The Distortion Field (2013)

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Jeff “Oly” Olson Rejoins The Skull

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 20th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

Most recently found playing keys in In~Graved alongside Victor Griffin, former Trouble drummer Jeff “Oly” Olson has once again joined forces with Trouble offshoot The Skull, who’ve begun writing their debut album.

I think my favorite part about this news — other than the fact that it leads me to think there’s a potential time at which one might be able to view vocalist Eric Wagner, bassist Ron Holzner and Olson in The Skull playing 1984’s classic Trouble debut, Psalm 9 in its entirety to mark the 30th anniversary of its release — is that with three members of the band’s most revered lineup, The Skull is now more Trouble than Trouble. Trouble still has guitarists Bruce Franklin and Rick Wartell, and they’ve issued a new album in this year’s The Distortion Field (review here), but it will be interesting to hear how The Skull‘s studio outing — to be recorded by Billy Anderson — stands up. One way or another, comparisons will be inevitable.

Also, beer! Life only gets more fascinating:

JeffOlyOlson has joined forces again with THE SKULL, the band he formed with fellow original member of Chicago doom-metal legends TROUBLE vocalist Eric Wagner and the band’s longtime bassist Ron Holzner.

Olson states, “I know that I’ve mentioned that I wouldn’t perform TROUBLE‘s music anymore unless it’s with the other original members, but I’ve had a change of heart. I want to rock again. Although I have been having a great time playing keys for IN~GRAVED (led by former Pentagram guitarist Victor Griffin), I miss the drums and playing classic TROUBLE songs. I’m still going to jam with Victor, but there is room for THE SKULL too.”

“In just a few short months, 2014 will mark the 30th anniversary year for TROUBLE‘s debut record Psalm 9. TROUBLE guitarists Rick Wartell and Bruce Franklin are having fun with their new record, and I had fun writing some intros for it, it’s just that Eric, Ron, and myself want to jam too and celebrate our 30th anniversary as well with a tour and a new record. We’ve worked just as hard as Bruce and Rick over the years and we feel that we’ve earned the privilege to celebrate with the fans as well. There is no animosity between the two bands and we intend to keep it that way.” We are currently writing a debut record set for release in 2014 and I’ve already submitted several songs to the guys. Excitement is in the air.”

“I’m also going to be brewing a beer for Allagash Brewing Company (based in Portland, Maine) set for release for the 2013 holidays. The beer will be Imperial Stout brewed with cranberries. More on that later… life is good!”

THE SKULL‘s debut release will be produced by Billy Anderson (HIGH ON FIRE, SLEEP, NEUROSIS) this autumn in Portland, Oregon and the yet-to-be-determined record label will be announced soon.

Confirmed shows are as follows:
September 14 – Tequilla Jaxx – Cleveland, OH (with Earthen Grave)
October 11 – Denver Doom Fest III – Denver, CO
October 13 – Fall Into Darkness VII – Portland, OR
October 19 – Loaded – Hollywood, CA

The 2014 PSALM 9 30th Anniversary Tour is currently being booked for both The U.S and Europe.

THE SKULL is:
Eric Wagner – vocals
Jeff Olson – drums
Ron Holzner – bass
Michael Capenter – guitar
Lothar Keller- guitar

Trouble, Psalm 9 (1984)

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Trouble, The Distortion Field: Sink or Swim

Posted in Reviews on July 24th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

It has been a turbulent decade-plus for Chicago doomers Trouble. Their lineup came apart following the release of 1995’s Plastic Green Head, ending a run that established a loyal fanbase and cemented their legacy in doom and heavy rock as one of the most powerful two-guitar acts ever to wield a riff. A 2002 live reunion started rumors swirling about a new album, and in 2005, a series of show recordings and compilations began to surface, culling together old bootleg-style releases and demos in self-released, for-fans style. Label drama surrounded the release of 2007’s seventh album, Simple Mind Condition, which added to apparently already-present tensions in the band, and though the record was able to update the spirit of Trouble‘s earlier works without sounding either clownish or like it was trying to recapture something that wasn’t there anymore, the group languished, the album went unappreciated by most save for the most cultish of Trouble followers — they’re out there — and eventually, founding frontman Eric Wagner split (again; having left the first time in ’95 to front the psychedelic rock project Lid). Trouble replaced him with Kory Clarke of Warrior Soul and pressed on, but the magic that characterized the band at their best was long gone, guitarists Rick Wartell and Bruce Franklin left as the only remaining founding members, drummer Jeff “Oly” Olson also having resigned in 2008 and a series of bassists having followed in the wake of Ron Holzner leaving in 2002, including Chuck Robinson and Shane Pasqualla — all the while a growing league of bands coming up as side-projects and ex-members reasserted themselves; see Retro Grave, Earthen Grave, This Tortured Soul, BlackfingerWet Animal. It’s telling that even as they release their eighth album and first studio outing in six years, The Distortion Field, through Austrian label FRW Records, Trouble lists no permanent bassist in its lineup, otherwise comprised of Wartell, Franklin, vocalist Kyle Thomas and drummer Mark Lira, as if to indicate that the drama that’s surrounded them for the last 18 years isn’t quite over yet. Even The Distortion Field itself began its life in 2009, initially announced as The Dark Riff but subject to a fortunate title change at some point along the way, so one imagines that with a four-year holdup and the personnel shifts that have played out as well, Trouble are at very least living up to their name.

The most glaring issue with The Distortion Field and a hurdle I suspect many listeners simply won’t be able to overcome is the lack of Wagner‘s ultra-distinct vocals in these songs. To Thomas‘ credit, he is a proven, powerful, accomplished and technically precise metal singer, and on cuts like “Sucker,” “Hunters of Doom,” “The Broken Has Spoken” and “Paranoia Conspiracy,” the former Exhorder and Floodgate frontman (who also stepped in to lead the charge on Alabama Thunderpussy‘s metallized 2007 swansong, Open Fire) gives as vigilant a performance as one could ask. Lyrics here and there lack perspective, and how the ballad “Have I Told You” made it onto the album, I’ll never know, but if The Distortion Field sinks, it’s not because of Thomas‘ singing. At 57:50 and 13 tracks deep, Trouble‘s return hones directly in on the band’s trad metal lurch with the searing beginning leads giving way to chugging riffs of “When the Sky Comes Down.” Thomas is distinct on one of The Distortion Field‘s best choruses, and his time fronting the band live between 1997 and 2000 seems to have paid off in how naturally he fits himself in with Franklin and Wartell‘s tones. Sure enough, the album’s highlight material — most of it, anyhow — is up front, “Paranoia Conspiracy” adding some grit to the momentum and “The Broken Has Spoken” rounding out a strong opening trio with a gang-shout chorus and classic riff that acts as a prelude to the ’70s swagger later to come on “Glass of Lies.” Structures are traditional verse/chorus exclusively, and though by the end of the Dio Sabbath-ian “Sink or Swim,” the crux of what works best about The Distortion Field is set, there’s still a long, long way to go, “One Life” working to “bring it down” en route to “Have I Told You,” which is a dip in heaviness and with rock-dudes-can-feel-feelings-too-you-know lyrics that, while sweet, are so within the stereotypical power ballad sphere despite being underproduced that I’ve come just to skip it — something I almost never do — and move on to “Hunters of Doom,” a lyric no less generic but one of the album’s heaviest riffs. Immediate motoring chug, headbanging groove, bluesy solos and a raging finish, it’s a fitting centerpiece and manages to recover some of the momentum that “Have I Told You” so willingly relinquishes seemingly for the sake of formality.

Read more »

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